Julie Fisher, University Baptist Church Member

Fort Worth, TX

Years spent at Lone Tree Ranch for summer camp:  2007 – 2019

I’ve never known a place that has more impact on others than Lone Tree. It is holy ground and sacred to me. This place is a holy place where lives are changed!

Lives are changed because of obedience… the Worrells who obeyed God’s calling to build a Christian camp in the mountains of New Mexico; the Dirks’ who have dedicated their lives to help transform the hearts of young people to turn to Christ and allow HIM to guide them throughout their time on earth.

Lives are changed because of learning and teaching…the God-inspired teaching of Steve Dirks is impactful way beyond a week at summer camp. I have been to one of the most recognized seminaries in the world and was taught by some of the most amazing theologians, missionaries, Christian educators, and authors. Seminary prepared me for a lot in life. I learned so much. I have heard some of the most profound Christian preachers and teachers in my life. The teaching and preaching at Lone Tree is in a class by itself. The Scripture expressed through “word pictures,” experiences, stories, that Steve Dirks obediently shares has impacted my life with such intensity. God has worked with my heart and memory to remember those important lessons taught by his servant, Steve Dirks and the staff at Lone Tree.

Lives are changed with physical and mental challenges… The “activities” at Lone Tree are not just something for a young person or chaperone to just “do.” Each and every activity has a spiritual purpose. The activities are spirit-led just like the preaching and teaching. Encouraging young people (or older chaperones) to use that strength of mind and body that God has already given them to get out of their comfort zone and rise to the challenge changes their lives! I still remember Steve looking at me and saying something about fear taking over our mind when doing repelling. That little statement, in passing, from Steve changed my prayer life. I pray about so much more about the little things that can infect and absorb our thoughts. I pray for God to give me strength to get through some minutes, hours, or days that challenge my mind and/or my body. Philippians 4:13 says I can do ALL this through HIM who gives me strength. It does not say God only gives us strength for the big stuff, but ALL this. What a powerful thing to change a life!

Lives are changed because of love…Lisa, Steve, Emily, and Sophie treat everyone with a genuine kindness that is an integral part of  Lone Tree. I know it cannot be easy through the years with working twenty hour days to show the love of Christ to ALL campers and those who came to retreats in off season, but they always have.

When I served as a chaperone/sponsor for my church, there were leader’s meetings every evening. This was a time when the Steve and some of the staff asked every leader, “How was your kids’ day?”; “How was your day?”; “How can we pray for you?” “Here is where the teaching is going this evening.”; “How is everyone feeling physically?” I loved this time. It was a time of community, love, sharing, and praying. Everyone who is in that room is treated as a partner in bringing others to accept Christ as their personal Savior. What is said during that meeting is considered by the staff as important and each staff member listens with attentiveness that shows love. Prayers for students, chaperones, family members, staff, and anyone or anything during that time is lifted up.

Because of the love the Dirks, the staff, and the Worrells have for Christ, Lone Tree camps will live in the hearts of many. This “summer camp” has had and will continue to have an eternal impact on many of us.